With many of us having spent at least the last two months quarantined at home, many readers have turned to technology to satiate their reading addiction more than ever before. Even those who were not big readers before may have found themselves reading more and more.
So I thought now would be a perfect time to muse how technology has changed reading, in several ways.
The most obvious change technology has brought to reading is the different formats. Whether it is Ebooks or audiobooks, people who once had little to no access to books (perhaps because they are traveling a lot or have dyslexia which makes it difficult for them to read) now have access to millions of books on their phones or laptops. You can own a hundred books and not have to find a place to put them in your house.
Access to More Books
Of course, there are still bookstores around, but there are also a lot of places for finding books not commonly carried in bookstores. Looking for a first edition? Or a Chinese version of your favorite classic (like I do)? Well, just look at Amazon, Book Outlet, Ebay. There are countless websites to search for any book you might be looking for. Even a few decades ago, you would have to call around or actually go to different bookstores searching for a book. Now, every book is easily accessible.
Communication with Authors
There used to be this drastic distance between authors and readers, even a few decades ago. However, now most authors have Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube. You have livestreams like the ones Brandon Sanderson puts on and J.K. Rowling’s infamous Twitter posts (for better or for worse). We as readers feel more acquainted with the writers outside of just their craft itself.
We have this view of writers sitting locked in their office and never leaving their house, but most modern successful authors now do a lot of advertising for their book, from tours to a social media presence. It’s quite a change from successful authors even twenty years ago when I was a wee kid.
Connect with Other Readers
This is perhaps my favorite thing technology has changed about reading. It used to be that only your friends and people you knew in your real life influenced your reading. However, now you see a massive move to online recommendations and connections. I have been recommended so many books by all my readers of this blog that I ended up loving, but I know I wouldn’t even know these books existed without your recommendations or me reading other blogs.
Goodreads itself has only been around since 2007, only thirteen years. As of 2016, there were already 50 million users. Goodreads not only lets you record your own reading and TBRs, but it also recommends other books and connects you to readers around the world. Something like this would not be as easily imagined twenty years ago.
Good and Bad
Saying that, I feel as if I’m only looking at the benefits technology has given to reading. Perhaps it’s because during this time of madness in the world I want to focus on the positives. However, I fully admit technology has hurt people reading books. Most people now spend more time on social media and playing games, when a few decades ago they might have been reading because there were less sedentary hobbies to enjoy.
Saying that, I do believe in the long run technology will change reading for the better, challenging traditional publishing to adapt and change to fit a new market.
What is your view of effects technology has had on reading? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,